Tuesday, January 24, 2006


SYDNEY, Australia — Schoolchildren will be required to sing the national anthem every day under measures announced over the weekend to deal with the causes of race riots.

The move was dismissed by critics as an attempt to deflect attention from charges that the police responded inadequately to a wave of racial violence in Sydney last month.

It applies to children in New South Wales, the most populous state. Morris Iemma, the state premier, said a repeat of rioting in the beach suburb of Cronulla could be prevented by ensuring that students sang “Advance Australia Fair” and were taught “Australian values.”

Up to 5,000 white youths went on a rampage, attacking people of Middle Eastern appearance and chanting racist slogans.

In retaliation, young men of mainly Lebanese origin smashed cars and shop fronts and attacked a church hall.

“These events revealed a fundamental lack of respect,” Mr Iemma said.

The government said 800 police would be on standby at popular beaches tomorrow, which is Australia Day.

The nationalist Australia First Party called for a rally at Cronulla to press for charges against the white rioters to be dropped on the grounds that police had failed to arrest ethnic Lebanese.

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